Walter Mansey by Celia Walters

My father, Walter Mansey, was in the First World War. He was invalided out after being gassed in the battle at Ypres (Wipes as the soldiers called it) of course, we now realise the gassing probably saved his life. He was one of the temporarily blinded soldiers who walked to safety with one arm on the shoulder of the soldier in front.  I have been to Ypres and have seen the trenches and the awful conditions the men fought under – horrific! My going was in the tradition of my father, who, whilst he seldom spoke of his experiences, was keen for his children to understand the horrors of war. To this end he never hid from us the shocking events of World War Two. I would have been 8 or 9 at the time and we then lived on Harvey Road, Alvaston, Derby. My father took us all out one night and told us to look up the road; on the horizon was a great glow of light. He said ‘that is Coventry on fire’. From Coventry to Alvaston the horror of bombing, burning and death was laid upon us. Speaking for all his children, we never forgot.

Celia Walters


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